This Side of Paradise (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

This Side of Paradise (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

3.3 162
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

This Side of Paradise, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes &

Overview

This Side of Paradise, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:

  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.
 
If the “Roaring Twenties” are remembered as the era of“flaming youth,” it was F. Scott Fitzgerald who lit the fire. His semi-autobiographical first novel, This Side of Paradise, became an instant best-seller and established an image of seemingly carefree, party-mad young men and women out to create a new morality for a new, post-war America. It traces the early life of Amory Blaine from the end of prep school through Princeton to the start of an uncertain career in New York City.

Alternately self-confident and self-effacing, torn between ambition and idleness, the self-absorbed, immature Amory yearns to run with Princeton’s rich, fast crowd and become one of the “gods” of the campus. Hopelessly romantic, he learns about love and sex from a series of beautiful young “flappers,” women who leave him both exhilarated and devastated. Fitzgerald describes it all in intensely lyrical prose that fills the novel with a heartbreaking sense of longing, as Amory comes to understand that the sweet-scented springtime of his life is fragile and fleeting, disappearing into memory even as he reaches for it.
 

Sharon G. Carson is Professor Emerita in the English Department at Kent State University, where she has taught for thirty-five years. She is the author of numerous articles and essays on modern and contemporary fiction.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781411433274
Publisher:
Barnes & Noble
Publication date:
06/01/2009
Series:
Barnes & Noble Classics Series
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
296,818
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

From Sharon Carson’s Introduction to This Side of Paradise

 

            With the soul of a poet, the ear of a musician, and a psyche inextricably intertwined with that of his culture, F. Scott Fitzgerald was perhaps the last true voice of the romantic American spirit. And in all instances, he sought beyond the constraints of cultural mores and literary conventions to create a body of work that bespeaks its ethos. This Side of Paradise (1920) was Fitzgerald’s first novel, the work that made him the voice of post–World War I America, “the Jazz Age.” The Jazz Age was not just a drastic change in the culture; it was a new dimension in consciousness. During the 1910s and 1920s America underwent a massive paradigm shift, a transition from an era of smug Victorian conformity and certainty to one of confusion and ambiguity called “modernism.” World War I had accelerated the velocity of this change, and Fitzgerald expresses this transition in attitudes early in his 1917 play The Debutante when flapper Helen Halcyon with her cigarettes and silver flask is asked by her father if she is ready to fit into the wide, wide world, and she replies, “No daddy, just taking a more licensed view of it.” The typical 1920’s flapper, Helen doesn’t want to “fit in” to the rigid roles prescribed for her by the Victorian world, but to live a more independent lifestyle based on her own desires, and to experience greater social and sexual freedom. Her disdain for convention is a symptom of the shifting cultural mores of the Jazz Age.

It is ironic that Fitzgerald’s first novel is the one for which he achieved the most acclaim, praise from which he never recovered. Perhaps its reception was the result of the novel’s sense of anticipation for the age to come. Written between 1917 and 1919 and published on March 26, 1920, This Side of Paradise actually preceded the Jazz Age, an era that Fitzgerald claimed lasted from May Day 1919 to October 1929, when the stock market crashed. Yet the novel is a sensitive barometer of the shifting social climate. Brian Way remarks that “all Fitzgerald’s best writing as a historian of manners is retrospective,” and even though The Great Gatsby (1925) and Tender Is the Night (1934) both look back on previous summers and previous years, “for a short time at the beginning of his career, Fitzgerald anticipated social change . . . he achieved the kind of popularity which depends upon a writer’s being fractionally ahead of his time” (Way, F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Art of Social Fiction, p. 62; see “For Further Reading”).

This Side of Paradise might have been ahead of its time partly because it examines and rejects the romantic idealism of the Victorian past and reluctantly embraces the troubling uncertainties of the future. It reveals an American culture that is economically on the ascendant but that is psychically ambivalent. World War I had finally ended in November 1918, and the “war to end all wars” had given the nation a euphoric sense of its own power. The stock market was booming, and thousands were getting rich overnight. Many felt the United States had emerged from the war relatively unscathed, having suffered fewer deaths than France, Germany, or Great Britain, and that it was now the greatest nation on earth. But at the same time Americans were troubled by a sense of unease: The trenches in France had demonstrated the brutality of war, and death was on a scale so massive it was incomprehensible. How had the culture, indeed the whole world order, failed so cataclysmically? The war had created a tectonic shift in human consciousness. Paul Fussell comments in The Great War and Modern Memory on the change that occurred between the start of the war in 1914 and its end in 1918: “Out of the world of summer 1914, marched a unique generation. It believed in Progress and Art and in no way doubted the benignity even of technology. The word machine was not yet coupled with the word gun” (Fussell, p. 24). The savage and absurd deaths of 10 million were a result of this new technology of killing, which introduced the “civilized” nations to artillery, air power, poison gas, and unprecedented civilian casualties. Ezra Pound decried the chaos of the war in his poem “Hugh Selwyn Mauberley” (1920): “There died a myriad, . . . For an old bitch gone in the teeth, For a botched civilization,” and T. S. Eliot wrote that the stable world view of the nineteenth century could not accord with “the immense panorama of futility and anarchy which is contemporary history.”

Much like the rebellious youth of the 1960s during the Vietnam War, the young people of the 1920s questioned the absurdity of this “Great War,” the value system of a civilization that had created it, and the beliefs of their elders who had supported it. Many of them rejected what they regarded as a pretentious, hypocritical, and outmoded lifestyle and began to live for the moment. The “new women” of the post-war period began smoking and drinking in public, applying rouge, wearing shorter skirts, and speaking their minds. They were becoming more numerous in the post-war workforce, were gaining economic independence, and by 1920 would get the right to vote with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. No longer the proper Victorian maid with her beau and her chaperone in the tearoom, the new woman was now “the flapper” and “the slicker” in the “speakeasy,” sans chaperone. Meanwhile, a sense of hedonistic revelry infected the ballrooms and nightclubs, where dances like the Charleston and the Black Bottom replaced the more sedate and conventional waltzes. Jazz music was popular and was becoming even more so by way of the Graphophone (an early phonograph) and the radio, early accompaniments to what Fitzgerald would call “the gaudiest spree in history.” Appalled by the uninhibited carousing, reactionaries mandated prohibition in early 1920 with the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment but were met with a populace drinking all the more, even if it was bootlegged liquor or grain alcohol. As Matthew J. Bruccoli notes, “Drinking increased among people for whom defying the bluenose Prohibitionists was a gesture of intellectual respectability” (Some Sort of Epic Grandeur, p. 131).

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

This Side of Paradise 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 162 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
F. Scott Fitzgerald's "This Side of Paradise" was written in the typical excessive Fitzgerald style, with lots of confusing allusions and very lengthy, wordy descriptions. However, the satisfaction in reading this comes mostly in the voyeuristic, almost "E! True Hollywood Story"-like glimpse into the main character, Amory Blaine's life. The main character was probably the sole thing that kept me interested while reading this - the book made me want to know everything there was to know about Amory, and by the end, I did know everything about him and I wanted him to see the things in himself that I saw in him, thanks to the author's masterful description of him and his personality. I also found myself kind of desperate for Amory to be happy in a relationship for once - I could have sworn that Rosalind was going to work out, but typical of Fitzgerald, like in "The Great Gatsby", nothing happens like we want it to. My favorite part in this book was the entire Rosalind arc, from the mad, passionate love that he shared with her (that never really ammounted to anything by today's standards) to the point where she shot him down and he was crushed - this was probably the one point where I really emotionally connected with the character and felt just as miserable as he was when he lost his love. My least favorite part was in the middle of the story, where it felt like absolutely nothing was happening. I understand that this feeling is probably what Fitzgerald wanted the reader to feel, since this was the point where Amory was in the army for the war that none of the snobbish Princeton boys cared about, including Amory, but still - it felt very dry and boring, and I wanted to skip ahead where I felt sure something exciting was going to happen. Overall, this was a great book. The language is hard to follow at times and there are parts where it gets pretty boring, but all of this is overshadowed by the incredible insight we get into the psychology of the character, his development, and his ultimate dismaying self-realization.
Seghetto More than 1 year ago
This is Fitzgerald's first attempt at novel. Considering that this was written by a 23 year old it is amazing. The middle third or so of the book is written as play, where the main character Amory gets involved with a girl. The main character was very irritating. His time as Princeton was described in brilliant detail though. The plot seems disjointed, but somehow it makes sense. If you are a fan of Fitzgerald this book is highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yet another masterpiece in the canon of the greatest writer in history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Most of the characters in this book are not likable at all, and sometimes I felt no need to finish the book. But not being able to put the it down, I found myself completely intreched in the story and I was really enjoying it. It follows a self-obsorbed boy named Amory from his childhood to his adulthood, and shows how he starts to think of others than himself. Although towards the end, I started to feel that the author wrote the book just to promote atheism and socialism.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago